The Director of The Science Media Centre, Fiona Fox, examines some of the stories that hit the headlines for the wrong reasons – Frankenfoods, Climategate and more – but tells a positive story of how over the last two decades more scientists have engaged openly with the press and how this has helped transform the way science is reported.
But Fox argues that not everything has moved in the right direction and highlights the way the government is exerting ever more control over the communication activities of publicly funded scientists – resulting in a worrying blurring of lines between scientific data and government ‘messaging’.
As founding director of the Science Media Centre, Britain’s independent science press office, Fiona Fox works closely with scientists, press officers and science journalists alike in order to improve the public’s access to and understanding of science. Fiona has received many accolades for her services to science, including an OBE, honorary fellowships of the Academy of Medical Science, the Royal Society of Biology and the British Pharmacology Society, and a special award for promoting openness in animal research. She has a blog on science and the media and writes for science publications and other media.